Galaxy S III: Samsung introduces its latest phone


The Samsung Galaxy S III

Samsung announced Thursday that it will release the next version of its Galaxy S smartphone, the Galaxy S III, and will launch it in the United States this summer.

The phone has a 4.8-inch, 720 HD display and an 8 MP rear-facing camera. It will run on LTE and HSPA+ networks, the company said in a release.

The Korean electronics giant said the phone’s design was influenced by nature, and includes voice and eye-tracking improvements meant to make it much easier to use.

For example, “S Voice” is a natural language user interface that can be used for information search and ”basic device use-communications” that will let users do things like tell their phones when to hit the snooze button on an alarm. The tool, featured in a demonstration video, seems to have functions like Apple’s Siri assistant.

To wake up the phone, consumers can say “Hi Galaxy,” and then ask it a question such as, “What’s the weather like in London?” You can also tell the phone that “I want to take a picture” and it will launch the camera application. The phone will understand eight languages, including English, Spanish, Korean, French and German.

“You can also use S Voice to play your favorite songs, turn the volume up or down, send text messages and e-mails, organize your schedules or automatically launch the camera and capture a photo,” the company said in a news release.

The phone will also be able to read a user’s movements, and will keep a bright display when it recognizes that the user is reading or browsing the Web, the company said. The feature is called “Smart Stay.”

Samsung has also introduced a feature called “S-Beam,” which combines NFC technology and WiFi Direct, meaning that users will be able to share content from their phones with others by simply being near each other. You can also wirelessly mirror your Galaxy S III on another device such as a television or projector.

So when can you get your hands on the phone? Samsung isn’t saying quite yet, though it has given a summer timeframe for release. In a statement, the company said: “Samsung Mobile is planning a U.S. version of Galaxy S III, optimized for the fastest LTE and HSPA+ networks in the U.S., which will be available in the summer of 2012. Exact timing and retail channel availability is not being announced at this time.”

Related stories:

‘Galaxy S III’: Rumor roundup

Samsung teases its ‘Next Galaxy’

Nokia files patent suits against HTC, RIM and ViewSonic

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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